Since 1990, HAP’s staff and volunteers have helped over 52,000 clients providing free civil legal services worth more than $86 million.
HAP annually holds over 100 annual legal clinics in 25 shelters, soup kitchens, transitional housing sites, and overnight cafes throughout Philadelphia.
In 2018, HAP provided advice and referrals to 1,686 clients and extended representation to 1,389 clients, including 145 veterans and 256homeless children and youth.
HAP’s SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery) Project has a 98% approval rate and disabled men and women are found eligible for SSI benefits within only 58 days, on average. Over 2,000 homeless men and women who are too disabled to work have secured Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on an expedited basis through HAP’s celebrated SOAR Project.
HAP's legal clinics are staffed by a corps of
Legal Volunteers from
Local Law Firms, Corporate Legal Departments,
and Law Schools
HAP continues to advocate for sufficient emergency housing placement for homeless parents and their children and is responsible for Philadelphia’s recent addition of 80 family shelter beds. HAP regularly surveys clients at the City’s intake site for homeless families to ensure that families are not left on the streets.
HAP continues to expand its Veterans andSOAR Projects to bring essential cash benefits and medical assistance to Philadelphians, including veterans, mothers over their 60-month Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) limits, youth aging out of foster care, prisoners re-entering society, and victims of human trafficking.
In 2018, HAP’s volunteers helped 651 clients obtain Pennsylvania or out-of-state birth certificates. Birth certificates are essential documents for individuals attempting to access housing, employment and social services including medical treatment.
HAP continues to advocate against the criminalization of homelessness, most recently working with civil rights activists to identify and stop police officers from improperly issuing citations to homeless men and women on Philadelphia’s streets.
HAP v. NYC
In 2016, HAP successfully sued New York City in federal district court to force it to create a process for issuing birth certificates in line with every state in the country, including New York State. Birth certificates are essential documents for individuals attempting to access housing, employment and social services including medical treatment. Under the new system in place, homeless individuals living anywhere in the world can now access their birth certificates under a new attorney protocol enacted as a result of the law suit.
HAP remains diligent in protecting the right to vote. In 2012, HAP joined as a plaintiff in litigation to challenge Pennsylvania’s Voter Identification law, a law that would require all would-be voters to bring state-issued photo ID to the polls to vote on election day – a burden for many people experiencing homelessness. As a result of the litigation, the PA Voter ID law was declared unconstitutional in 2014.